Monday, April 17, 2006

PenDemorandum: 04-17-06

This week:
1. Calendar
2. Bear Butte update
3. PHOENIX event, April 29
4. For More Information

1. Calendar (questions? Email

Thursday April 20th, 7:15 am: Campaign Event
Gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion Campaign Kickoff
Radisson Hotel, 445 Mt. Rushmore Road, Rapid City.
The candidate will be available to answer questions.

Friday, April 21, 4pm PENDEM FRIDAY FORUM
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha St, Rapid City
Topic: "Finding Common Ground in the Abortion Debate"
Guest Speaker: Marion Zenker
Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Wiese will attend!

Thursday, April 27, 6pm: PENDEM MONTHLY MEETING
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room
The meeting will include an update on the upcoming
PHOENIX event.

Saturday, April 29, 8:30 am: PHOENIX kickoff
Labor Temple, 922 E Saint Patrick St. Rapid City
(PHOENIX is a week-long event; see details below)

2. Bear Butte update
Unfortunately the Meade County Commission was not able to act to protect the sanctity of Bear Butte, and instead voted (unanimously) to allow a malt liquor license. For an update on the situation, visit:

3. PHOENIX Event: Saturday, April 29, 8:30-9:30 am

Mark your calendars to catch a political wave! The Pennington County Democrats are kicking off its week long effort to organize fellow Democrats for the 2006 election season. On the morning of April 29th those who have volunteered to participate will receive orientation and training for this event. We will gather at the Labor Temple 922 E. St Patrick Street. (OJ, donuts and coffee will be served) Briefly stated, PHOENIX will be a county wide organizing effort to phone contact and organize. This is just one event of hundreds going on across the country. Hope to see you there! Email Justin Lena if you can participate.

4. For more information
* Visit, or email
* Come to an event!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

PHOENIX Event: April 29

Mark your calendars to catch a political wave!

Pennington Democrats PHOENIX Event Kickoff
April 29, 2006, 8:30-9:30 AM
Labor Temple, 922 E St. Patrick Street
(across the street from Boyd's Eastside)

Penn Dems will start a weeklong organizing effort with a one-hour kickoff meeting at the Labor Temple. Our goal is to identify activist Democrats to form the foundation of our local volunteer effort. Over OJ, coffee and donuts, we will review our strategy, phone survey forms and call scripts, and distribute phone call assignment packets. We will meet again the following Friday evening to review progress, and to gather survey forms.

We have a unique opportunity to capitalize on the increasing public discontent with our current administration, and present a strong democratic alternative. To do this, we need to pull together as a party and present a strong and united front. Our long-term goal is to identify and organize all current democrats who are willing to be involved and mobilize them as efficiently as possible. We have a great group of candidates and we need to make sure they have a chance to be heard.

The PHOENIX event is the first critical step in unlocking the Democratic potential in Pennington County and we need to make this week count. The data we will be collecting is critical to our campaign this year and into the future. The information will be used to organize a strong base of volunteers to get the message to Pennington County voters that Democratic legislative candidates are the ones who can best represent the real values of the people of Pennington County. The more people we contact, the more we can accomplish. We need YOU to help make this kickoff event the memorable starting point to a successful 2006 campaign.

Be a part, be the change, become active in our bid to promote the Democratic values of decency, respect, humanity, and justice in this great state and country.

Email Justin Lena ( if you can participate.
See you there!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Steve Jarding in Rapid City

There was an excellent fund-raising event today—Dems gathered at Prairie Edge this afternoon to meet one of South Dakota's most influential political sons, Steve Jarding. Steve talked with local Dems about his new book Foxes In The Henhouse, which is a clear indictment of the current folks in charge of our national government, exposing them as anti-family, anti-military and anti-conservative as far as the economy goes.

Don Carr (Press Sec.) and April Reis (Operations Dir.) of the South Dakota Democratic Party were there. It's was great to see them in Rapid City and match names with faces!

State Chair Judy Olsen Duhamel (left) was chatting with Pam Hemmingsen about her upcoming District 32 House campaign.
Pam is in my District so I was especially thrilled with her enthusiasm, compassion, and sharp wit. She's prepared for a good fair run and after talking with her I'm convinced she can make it to Pierre! Can't wait to see her tell it like it is during the campaign--we'll be proud to have her on our slate.

I was lucky enough to get to chat with Steve about his book, and about our common heroes, among them Kevin Phillips (who has a new great book out) and comedian and sharp observer Lewis Black (who turns out to be a friend of Steve's and wrote one of the blurbs for the book).

Steve got up on the steps and very passionately encouraged us to take risks and stand up for what's right. And stand up for those that are missing out—our middle class, our kids, our military...! He told us that the Reagan legacy of "government is the problem" is not what America is about. It's our government and we need to take it back. We should all study this book, it's full of good talking points and exhorts us all to start changing things, and brings forward good ideas on how to go about it!

-- Curtis Price, Pennington Democrats Communications

PS You "East River" types can catch Steve at two events next week:

Monday, April 17, 4-7 pm: Steve will be speaking at a Dem fund-raiser (similar to yesterday's event) in at Food and Fermentation, Sioux Falls. Contact SDDP if you can come.

Tuesday, April 18, 4 pm: Steve is giving a free talk in Vermillion on the USD campus, University of South Dakota, Law School Courtroom.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

PenDemorandum: 04-11-06

1. Calendar
2. Democratic Candidates!
3. Route 16 Zoning (Wal-Mart) Vote
4. PenDems PHOENIX Event: April 29
5. For More Information

1. Calendar (questions? Email

Friday, April 21, 4 pm PENDEM FRIDAY FORUM
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
Topic: Moderate Democrats and HB 1215

Thursday, April 27, 6 pm: PENDEM MONTHLY MEETING
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room, 6pm
(NOTE: this date was incorrect in the last PenDemorandum)

Saturday, April 29, 4-8 pm: PHOENIX Event
Sign up to phone up Democrats and invite them into the process!
PenDems will phone for National Dem Neighbor-to-Neighbor
campaign, building local support for Pennington Dems!,

2. Democratic Candidates!!!

This has turned out to be a huge year for Democrats in South Dakota
and Pennington County. There are more Dem candidates than we've seen
in more than a decade, and many contested primary elections! We'll be
posting compiled lists soon, but in the meantime check out the
government sources:

Pennington County Elections
Statewide Elections
Register To Vote

3. Route 16 zoning (Wal-Mart) zoning vote

As Democrats, we are concerned about the environmental and
social problems, and negative effects to the local economy
that may be created by a second Wal-Mart store in Rapid
City. A ballot question to overrule the City Council's approval of
the Wal-Mart zoning variance will on the ballot for the June 6
election. There will be a meeting Wednesday, April 12, at 5:30 pm a
the Labor Temple on St. Patrick St. For more information, contact
Mike Howe,, 431-1106

4. PenDems PHOENIX Event: April 29, 2006, 4-8 pm

Put this on your calendar, and plan to help build our organization to
turn the wheel toward a better future for our County and State. Stay
tuned for more information.

5. For more information

* Visit, or email
* Come to an event!

* To subscribe or unsubscribe to the PenDemorandum,
send a request to

Thursday, April 06, 2006

PenDemorandum: 4-5-06

This week:
1. Calendar (corrected from last week)
2. Petition update
3. Candidates for Governor in Rapid City
4. Rep. Herseth and State Dem email lists
5. For More Information

1. Calendar (questions? Email

Friday, April 7, 4pm: PENDEM FRIDAY FORUM
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
Topic: "Getting Educated on Education: SD Leg. (In)Action on Education
Speakers: Local Educators representing NEA/SDEA/RCEA

Friday, April 21, 4pm PENDEM FRIDAY FORUM
Dunn Brothers Coffee House, 719 Omaha, Rapid City
Topic: Moderate Democrats and HB 1215

Thursday April 27, 6pm: PENDEM MONTHLY MEETING
Rapid City Public Library, Helen Hoyt Room, 6pm
(NOTE: this date was incorrect in the last PenDemorandum)

Saturday April 29, 4-8 pm: PHOENIX
Sign up to phone up Democrats and invite them into the process!
PenDems will phone for National Dem Neighbor-to-Neighbor campaign, building local support for Pennington Dems! ,

2. Local candidates update

The Pennington County Democratic Party has been encouraging all to get involved by either signing petitions or collecting signatures. West River has many candidates this year; part of a statewide triumph of 100 Dem candidates!

3. Democratic Candidates for Governor coming to Rapid City this weekend. For more information, email or visit:

4. State Dem. and Herseth campaign emails

To avoid us having to forward lots of statewide emails, but assuming most of you are interested, we have forwarded our PenDems mailing list to the South Dakota Democratic Party and the Herseth Campaign. This will save us a lot of volunteer time. If you decide you do not want these emails, simply click the link to unsubscribe when they come your way. Thanks!

5. For more information

* Visit, or email
* Come to an event!

* To subscribe or unsubscribe to the PenDemorandum,
send a request to

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Meet our candidates for Governor

Two of our gubernatorial candidates, Jack Billion and Dennis Wiese, will be having announcement/meet and greet events in the Black Hills this week.

Jack Billion will be meeting folks at a home in Rapid City, contact if you are interested in coming. There will be ample time to talk with the candidate.

Dennis Wiese is making an announcement of his candidacy on Thursday, April 6th at 3:30 at the Radisson Hotel, followed by a 'meet and greet' event at 5pm. The public is welcome at both events. Dennis will be happy to meet local Democrats.

Please take advantage of both opportunities to become aquainted with our candidates for governor.

Please feel free to pass this information on to anyone you believe would be interested.

Justin Lena


14 Year High for Dem Candidate Totals


South Dakota Democratic Party
207 E. Capitol Avenue, Suite 209
Pierre, SD  57501

605-224-1750 Phone
605-224-1759 Fax
For Immediate Release      
April 4, 2006

Contact: Donald Carr, Press Secretary

Fourteen Year High for Democratic Candidate Totals
Pierre, SD
In 2002*, the South Dakota Democratic Party fielded 68 candidates for the state legislature. In 2004*, the SDDP fielded 71 candidates. For the 2006 election the South Dakota Democratic Party is pleased to announce it will be fielding candidates to compete for 94 legislative seats. This is a net gain of 26 candidates in four years. With primaries, the total number of candidates is well over 100.
?I?m ecstatic,? said SDDP Chairwoman Judy Olson Duhamel. ?Not only by the quantity of candidates, but by the quality.?
Olson Duhamel pointed to several factors that contributed to the high turnout of Democratic candidates.
?Overall, there?s a general sense that this abusive, one-party rule in Pierre is not serving the interests of the people,? said Olson Duhamel. ?Instead of focusing on common sense challenges, they concentrated their energy on sex legislation and fringe issues.?
Olson Duhamel continued. ?South Dakotans are hungry for leadership. Democrats are promising a return to the meat and potatoes values of a good education for our kids, quality and affordable health care, economic development for our farmers and rural areas, better jobs and wages, and open and accountable government.?
?It?s important to highlight that even though it all starts with the candidates, there?s been an enormous recruiting effort. The recruitment committees for Minnehaha and Pennington Counties, our other county organizations, and our State Party staff have stepped up to the challenge and delivered.?
* Numbers compiled from final legislative results from the SD Secretary of State?s web site.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Stand Up to Support Dr. Buehner

Pennington County Democratic Party


A group of extremist protesters will be in front of Dr. Buehner's
medical office at 677 Cathedral Dr. on Monday morning. We need to be
there in force to demonstrate solidarity for Dr. Buehner and his
colleagues. Out of respect for the doctors and their patients, we
will maintain a strong, but respectful presence in our counter-protest.

Please join us at 9:30 a.m. on Cathedral Drive between 5th and Tower.
Numbers will be very important to demonstrate our support of Dr.
Buehner and the Campaign for Healthy Families cause.

Dr. Buehner has spent his career caring for South Dakota women and
families. And he is a leader in protecting women's rights to medical
care—he is a co-chair for the Campaign for Healthy Families and
will appear Sunday evening in a debate against Leslee Unruh and Rep.
Rhoden on Fox News at 9:30 p.m. He testified before the SD Abortion
Task Force, he testified at committee hearings against HB1215, and
wrote an excellent forum article for the Rapid City Journal. Now
it?s our turn to stand up for Dr. Buehner!

The Threat to Bear Butte

Enclosed is an article summarizing the issue of the hearing on April 4 in Meade County, and an email that was sent that also gives a good overview of what this is all about.

To contact the the Meade County Commission about Bear Butte:
mail: 125 Sherman St., Sturgis SD, phone: (605) 347-2360 fax: 347-5925,—or contact the commissioners directly.

If you can attend, see the Commission agenda for the April 4 meeting.
Discussion of the Bear Butte area malt liquor license is scheduled for about 2:15 PM, but please arrive early if you can.

© 2006 The Los Angeles Times

Beer, broads, bikers -- and the Great Spirit
By Peter Nabokov

Peter Nabokov teaches at UCLA and is the author of Where the Lightning Strikes: The Lives of American Indian Sacred Places.

March 26, 2006

JUST EAST OF THE hogback ridge that encircles the Black Hills of South Dakota rises the irregular profile of Bear Butte, a 4,426-foot-high cross between a hill and a mountain. Geologists call it a laccolith, a volcanic bulge that never erupted, as if still storing its power within. To a handful of Plains Indian tribes, Bear Butte remains the preeminent sacred place on their continent. On all sides, the approach to this counterpart of Mt. Sinai or Mt. Athos is mantled with waves of prairie grass, allowing arriving pilgrims or vision-seekers to take in the promontory's stillness, quietude and power by degrees. But the construction of a 30,000-seat-capacity rock-concert amphitheater, a 22,000-square-foot biker bar and a 150,000-square-foot asphalt parking lot adjacent to the butte threatens the place's ability to provide peace and refuge.

Every summer, an estimated 500,000 growling Harleys invade the nearby town of Sturgis, destroying the butte's zone of spiritual restoration. However, that August orgy of mandatory machismo, nonstop boozing and wild-girl breast-baring lasts for only two weeks. The mammoth entertainment venue under construction, for which bulldozers are scraping up turf, will bring roaring choppers, blasting music and carousing drinkers year-round.

Next week, the Meade County Commission will hear debate on the venue's liquor license application. An overflow crowd of American Indians is expected to attend. For them, Bear Butte's history is ancient and hallowed. Into the butte's bowels, says Cheyenne Indian mythology, once ventured a man and a woman who were charged with saving their tribe from starvation. Within its cavern-like interior, they received the great Massaum ceremony, with its gift of providing game animals to feed the people. For Lakota Indians, Bear Butte is their ultimate altar, where their Great Spirit placed all seven sacred elements and made it the optimal location for smoking the sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe, a rite that holds the secret "to the past, present and future of the Lakota people." Old-time Mandan tribesmen from North Dakota undertook pilgrimages to Bear Butte. In autumn 1857, it was the site where the famous Crazy Horse received his sacred training. As white soldiers and gold miners invaded the Black Hills, it was at Bear Butte that American Indians, led by such legends as Crazy Horse and Black Twin, sought divine assistance in resisting government efforts to force them onto reservations.

Designated a South Dakota state park in 1961, Bear Butte was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places 12 years later. But that honor did not prevent a challenge to the American Indians' traditional use of the place. In 1982, the park added new campgrounds, hiking trails and paved roads to attract non-Indian tourists. Restrictions were put on the times when American Indians could undertake their traditional vision quests. Citing protections for American Indian rituals and sacred places under the 1978 American Indian Religious Freedom Act, Sioux and Cheyenne jointly sued to stall the developments. But a U.S. District Court rejected their claims.

The full importance of Bear Butte to the social, religious and political histories of Plains Indians is more than matched by its continuing role as a source of spiritual sustenance. Here, American Indian families who have fought their way out of poverty, alcoholism, social dysfunction and the internal colonialism of the reservation system come for a living reminder of their past. Through the mists that often hover around Bear Butte coast eagles, the old messengers of power. Tied on branches throughout the butte zone are prayer cloths and tiny tobacco packets, offerings of thanks from vision-seekers. Clearly, the explosive noises, riotous exhibitionism and liquor-driven frivolity that the planned entertainment venue will bring to Bear Butte will destroy this mystical sanctuary for American Indians. The late American Indian intellectual and gadfly Vine Deloria Jr. used to say that locations such as Bear Butte needed "time of their own" to rest and recuperate so they could fulfill their mission of providing spiritual strength to needy people. And as with Mount Vernon, Gettysburg, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Yosemite National Park or the few other locations that even secular modern Americans generally recognize as restorative in mysterious ways, Bear Butte is a delicate national treasure that must be left alone if it is to do its urgent job. Denying the new entertainment complex its liquor license could be the first step - and last chance - for protecting this sacred place and reminding Americans that there may be more to their purple mountains' majesty than meets the eye.

From: Shelli Vallis
Subject: Fw: Bear Butte article in L.A. Times

I am forwarding [the above] article to folks who I think are interested in our beautiful land ---and who might be convicted enough to write a letter or e-mail to the Meade Co commission before next Tuesday. (There is an ad in today's Journal with other addresses and an e-mail link to sign a petition.)

Below is the e-mail I sent to the Commission yesterday:

March 31, 2006

To the Meade County Commissioners:

I am writing to express my concerns about the upcoming decision regarding the awarding of a liquor license for a proposed new "biker park" near Bear Butte. I am a life-long resident of Pennington County, but feel that as a concerned citizen of the state of SD, I need to voice my thoughts about this beautiful and sacred area.

I urge you to listen carefully to ALL citizens before you make any decision that will affect future generations!

My dad (who died in '97) was a guy who could fit in with any crowd... and he loved to go to the rally once a year, get his new belt buckle and was usually home by 10pm.

In the days when he still rode a bike (a Honda...not a Harley) mom even got talked into riding along!

So---in the 80's I was finally talked into seeing the rally (having never been)--
I have to's a spectacle...
but ....
that spectacle has gotten so far out of control, that it's no longer safe to be on the high ways for most of August. I urge friends and relatives to come enjoy the Hills and prairies/Badlands anytime BUT during August.

My mom's cousin, Charles Rambow, was the curator/interpretive guide at the Bear Butte Visitor Center for many years. He has written and talked about this sacred area...and I have listened. I have hiked to the top... anyone who has done this, has experienced the peace and sacredness first hand. This area needs to be preserved for future generations of ALL Americans. The sacred peace in this truly unique site will be destroyed by allowing construction and the eventual noise of bikes.

Sometimes we have to make decisions that are simply the right thing to do. This is the time to not consider the county coffers...but the legacy of the land entrusted to us.

Please do not grant a liquor license. Please stop the greed.

Preserve beauty and peace. It's priceless.

Shelli M. (Fenner) Vallis
2527 Junction Drive
Rapid City, SD 57702